A truck hauling fireworks is one some 90 vehicles involved in a massive pileup on I-94 outside Kalamazoo, Michigan, WWMT (Grand Rapids) is reporting.
Traffic in both directions of I-94 in Kalamazoo county has been closed because of the pileup, which has claimed at least one life as of this post.
The wreck that initially caused the pileup involved two semi trucks, one of which was carrying 40,000 pounds of fireworks. The truck is on fire, and periodic explosions can be heard as fireworks shells ignite. Fireworks are launching at the scene of the pileup.
Micah Stanislowski, whose vehicle was one of at least 90 involved in the pileup, said that drivers didn’t have time to stop due to the snow and visibility conditions.
“Right in front of me the trucks started to go crazy. You couldn’t see a single thing at the time of all the accidents. I was able to pull off and just watch semi after semi and semi and semi hit each other and cars hit each other. I mean people were going full speed ahead.”
Heather Jackson was also involved in the pileup. She described having debris from the burning fireworks truck making the surrounding scene a hazard.
“I’m getting debris from the fire on my car. I can see the fire now from here. There’s fireworks going off,” said Heather Jackson, who was involved in the pile-up. “As I approached I realized that all the cars were stopped in front of me. I seen some in the ditch and I seen cars behind me coming at me at regular speed and I knew if I didn’t go into the ditch I was going to be hit. [An emergency responder] said they’re not going to be able to put out the fire. The fire is just going to have to continue until it’s done.”
Elsewhere in Michigan in general, and in the Kalamazoo area specifically, roads remain “a complete mess” because of the snow, according to Wood Radio. Major roads are closed because of wrecks in Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids. In nearby Muskegon County, the Sheriff’s Department has asked people to stay off the roads entirely.
This week has seen a particularly nasty bout of winter, thanks to a powerful winter storm followed by an arctic blast of cold air. The effects have been felt particularly in the Upper Midwest and Great Plains states.
At least one person has died in the Kalamazoo pileup, according to WWMT; no information about the victim has been released, as of this post.
UPDATE: Wood TV reports that the number of vehicles involved in the pileup is not at least as high as 150. One fatality is confirmed, and at least six people have been injured, with one person in serious condition and the other five in fair condition.
[Image courtesy of: Michigan Live]